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  • Writer's pictureKrista the Explorer

Tropicfeel Shell Backpack Review: The Ultimate Travel Backpack

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

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I’m a big fan of travelling with backpacks, and have been wearing Tropicfeels All Terrain Sneakers for over a year, to places such as Málaga, Leicester, and Jerez, so I was really excited when they released their game-changing Shell Backpack. Before I get into the specifications and explain why Tropicfeels Shell Backpack is the ultimate travel companion, I wanted to touch on the brand itself and what makes it such a great sustainable travel brand.

Tropicfeel was founded in 2017 and is based out of Barcelona. Soon after launching on Kickstarter, Tropicfeel All Terrain Sneakers became the most funded shoe ever on the platform. Following this success, they began to expand their range to include clothing, backpacks, and travel accessories. I currently own three pairs of their All Terrain Sneakers and wear them for all of my adventures.

Their goal is to inspire authentic and conscious travel, and all of their products are sustainably made. By designing travel gear that meets the needs of the modern traveller, Tropicfeel have created a global brand that fits right into the future of a sustainable and eco-friendly world. Their Shell Backpack is right up there in terms of the best travel backpacks available on the market, so keep scrolling to read my Tropicfeel Shell Backpack review!

Layout of a green backpack with built in shelves and two pouches.
Tropicfeel Shell Backpack

One thing that’s unique to Tropicfeel Shell Backpack is its expandable feature. The backpack can change from 22L to 40L, meaning you can use it for a variety of different trips regardless of their length without having to purchase multiple different bags. I personally love this feature, because I’m able to fit in larger items such as my tripod, which normally I would end up carrying separately. It’s also great in case you manage to pick up a few souvenirs on your travels and end up coming back home with more than you left with.

There’s also the added bonus of having a 6L kangaroo pocket that folds out of the bottom of it, which can be used for many things, but predominantly it’s a great place to put shoes so they don’t take up space in the backpack’s main compartment.

Two small pouches that fit electronics and toiletries in a green colour sitting next to a laptop on the bed.
Tech Pouch & Toiletry Bag

As well as the Wardrobe System, the Shell Backpack comes with a Tech Pouch and Toiletry Bag that can both fit to the front of the backpack using a magnetic fidlock mechanism. The Tech Pouch is great to use if you have cables and other small devices or accessories that you don’t want to misplace. The Toiletry Bag can be hung when opened so it’s easy to grab your toiletries while you’re in the bathroom. Or, if you’re like me and have more tech accessories than toiletries, you can use both of them for that too.

Black camera cube opened on the bed with some camera gear inside of it.
Camera Cube

If you’re thinking of bringing a camera and lenses with you, but normally take a separate camera bag like I do, Tropicfeel Shell Backpack has got you covered. Their Camera Cube has a top loop so you can carry it wherever you need to, and it includes a few velcro dividers that you can move and customize to your needs. The Camera Cube stacks nicely in the backpack with the other packing accessories and has enough padding around it to protect your photography equipment. The only downside to the Camera Cube that I found was that the velcro dividers are quite stiff and can be difficult to insert properly.

Hanging wardrobe system that unfolds from a backpack with clothes inside of it.
Wardrobe System

A key feature of Tropicfeel Shell Backpack is its Wardrobe System. I’m sure many people already use packing cubes while travelling, but this wardrobe system is a big step up. It’s designed to fit perfectly in the backpack, and flattens down when not in use so it’s easy to store. The Wardrobe System can be hung anywhere, and its built-in shelving units and compartments means that you don’t even have to unpack it. I tend to use packing cubes, but the Shell Wardrobe System is great to use if you intend on bringing the Shell Backpack on your adventures.

Backpack opening like a suitcase with a built in wardrobe system inside of it.
Clam Shell Opening

Tropicfeel Shell Backpack has a clam shell opening, making it much easier to pack than a regular backpack. With this type of opening you’re able to see everything at once, much the same way that a suitcase opens. This is another great feature of the Shell Backpack, because there’s nothing worse than having to unpack everything just to find what you’re looking for. It also makes it easier to pack initially (and stuff more things in at the last minute).

Green backpack standing up right with it opening like a clamshell.
Clam Shell Openin

Even with the Wardrobe System and the Camera Cube placed inside of the backpack, you’ll find that there’s still quite a bit of room to play with, especially if you’re using it to its 40L maximum capacity. If you plan on using the backpack without the packing accessories that are included, it almost packs like a large open duffel which you can definitely fit a lot into.

Backpack with a built-in laptop sleeve and several small pockets inside of it.
Laptop Sleeve

The Shell Backpack’s laptop sleeve can hold up to a 17” laptop, and closes with a velcro flap. I tend to travel with a small Chromebook so it doesn't take up as much room (or weight) as it would with a larger laptop. There are also a couple of pockets on the front of the sleeve where you can put your laptop accessories or even your passport if you don’t want to put it in one of the outer hidden pockets. I would try not to overfill this section of the backpack or else you’ll have difficulty fitting in the Camera Cube and Wardrobe System.

Green backpack with hidden pockets on the front, shown with a sunglasses case and a lens cap coming out of it.
Hidden Pocket

There’s no such thing as a good backpack without it having hidden pockets. The Shell Backpack includes a good number of these hidden pockets for added safety while travelling. One of the least obvious pockets can be found right behind the magnetic fidlock mechanism. I actually didn’t know it was there for quite a while, so it was a nice surprise - you can never have too many pockets!

Hidden pocket with a passport cover coming out of it situated on the back side of a green backpack.
Hidden Pocket

You can also find a second hidden pocket near the back support of the backpack, located around the hip area. I’ve had a few backpacks in the past that have had a pocket here, and found that it’s a great spot to hide away your passport and plane tickets. There are a few other pockets located inside of the backpack for you to use as well, so everything is safe and sound as you travel.

A green backpack from the back, showing an array of adjustable straps.
Backpack Straps

Something that I always look for in a backpack is that it has a sturdy back on it, because I usually end up walking everywhere with it on and back pain can really put a dampener on any trip. Tropicfeel Shell Backpack has one of the sturdiest backs I’ve seen on a backpack and is built with dual-channel airflow to reduce sweating. You’ll also find a number of straps on the Shell Backpack such as the offload mechanism that allows you to adjust how the backpack sits, a hidden hip belt and adjustable sternum straps to help transfer the weight from your shoulders, and the added bonus of having a strap holder for when you’re not using them.

It may not be the most interesting part of Tropicfeel Shell Backpack, but one of my favourite features is the side handle. If you’re tired of carrying it on your back, you can easily switch to carrying it like a duffel with either the handle located on the side of the backpack or the one on the top. Both handles are very sturdy and work well when the strap holder is in use.

Green backpack on steps in front of a pier with a camera next to it.
Tropicfeel Shell Backpack

Overall, Tropicfeel Shell Backpack is an innovative travel bag to take on your adventures, with more than enough space to fit all of your belongings for anything from a weekend away to a month of exploring. Its main feature, the Wardrobe System, is a great way to organize your clothing and other accessories, and makes it easier than ever to hop between hotels without having to unpack everything or end up with a very messy backpack.

Sometimes you may feel that the packing accessories don’t necessarily all need to come with you on your trip, and that’s totally fine. In fact, it will probably give you more space and flexibility if you’re packing a lot of things. Its other added features make the Shell Backpack a must-try travel bag for any avid traveller, and it’s certainly one backpack I’ll be using time and time again as I make my way to more unique historical locations around the world!

Have you tried any of Tropicfeel’s products before? I’d love to hear what you thought about my Tropicfeel Shell Backpack review in the comments section below. And if you have any questions about the backpack or Tropicfeel all-terrain sneakers, please get in touch! Don't forget to follow my travels on Instagram too!

P.S. Check out my sustainable gift guide for some great ideas and discounts!


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